Pursuing Passion Leads To Successful Venture

Pursuing Passion Leads To Successful Venture

In a leap of faith, Shanna Wheelock and her husband, a poet, moved to Lubec, Maine, in 2001. They moved into his grandfather's vacant home in a wooded glade, where they both found the beauty of nature and the solitude conducive to making art.

A few years later Shanna, who was teaching art in the public school, began to sell wheel-thrown cups, bowls and vases at her home studio in the summer. However, faced with a possible cutback in her position in 2009, she contacted WBC Downeast Business Counselor Ruth Cash-Smith to explore ways to grow her art business, Cobscook Pottery and Fiber Arts.

Meeting quarterly to review progress and envision next steps, Shanna has learned the value of business planning, goal setting and marketing--evidenced by achieving a sales growth of 100% in just two years.

"When I reviewed last year's accomplishments with my business counselor." Shanna said, "I saw I'd really forged ahead. I designed new products, improved my signage, kept the shop open more consistently, tracked sales, vended at a few select fairs, exhibited my work at three new venues, maintained my blog regularly, and was featured in American Craft, a national art publication."

In between part-time teaching and working in her art studio and shop, Shanna also carves out time to pursue an MFA at Heartwood College of Art, where she pours her political passion into creating ceramic art.

"I am proud of more fully embracing life as an artist," Shanna reflects. "I find that when I stay receptive, many artistic doors open for me. I intend to stay focused on making my living as an artist."